Friday, November 15, 2002

Category 4 Kill Storm; Halesite Supermarket memories

There is supposed to be a big storm tomorrow.

A big huge category four kill storm.

The weather forecasters are putting the fear of God into bread, milk and egg buyers. They are the shrieking Cassandras, foaming at the mouths, uttering cries of certain death and doom unto us all.

You'd never know the killer storm approacheth. It is a gorgeous and delightful fall day out today. Warm. Sunny. Slightly breezy.

But in 24 hours we'll all be repenting our sins while crouching in the bathtub, hoping our bodies will protect our small children, surrounded by our couch cushions, if you listen to the weathermen.

We were low on food anyway, so I planned on going to the grocery store today. But Doug made it a point to remind me to go. Last night he told me to be sure to go to the market because a storm was coming, and "bread will never be made again!"

Yes. The weathermen are right! Avenues of commerce across the north east will be clogged with the bodies of the dead, abandoned vehicles, 8 feet of snow, fallen trees and power lines! I'd better buy four loaves!

Bread will never be made again. Shudder.

Nor will there be meat! Ever again. Better buy a lot. We'll freeze some, then use the frozen steaks to whack the heads of the looters and home invaders when they come here because our roof is the only which hasn't caved under the sheer weight of the heavy rain and snow! I may have to inflict serious pain with those chicken breasts -- better make sure they are bone-in so they'll be super sharp and pointy when my former friends and neighbors come over to kill us.

Dog food! The dogs must have food or they also will turn on us and eat us alive in this post-storm apocalypse. Better get two bags.

Toilet Paper!!! Everyone is going to buy milk, bread and eggs. But they will forget TP to wipe their asses with after they eat all their French Toast. But we will have plenty. Lots and lots of TP.

A great big bag of charcoal would be nice too. Not only will we be able to have cooked meat on the grill after we pummel our former friends and neighbors to death with it, we'll have warmth. The power will be out! Gas lines severed! But we'll fire up ole' Mother Weber and huddle round her with our well fed dogs and our fleece blankets, with frozen meat and poking sticks in our hands.

And we will laugh at those who are under prepared. Hahahahahaaaaaaa!

Even if the storm doesn't kick our collective Northeastern Asses, we'll have food for the next few weeks.

I like going to the supermarket in the morning.

It isn't crowded. People working and shopping there are much older so I feel so hip and young. Once in a while there is a stay at home mom with one or more rug rats, or a new mother with her new baby in the new car seat perched in the brand new shopping cart, looking shiny and happy.

The cashiers and bag "boys" are all in their 50s and 60s, and perhaps 70s. They are exceedingly friendly. Today when I was putting my stuff on the conveyor the cashier lady I always go to recognized me and asked how Geoff was doing (he is sometimes with me in the morning when we run in and get juice boxes due to my poor planning skills).

Note to self: Improve planning skills if I am to survive after storm, as Doug will surely die as a result of shoveling heavy snow off the roof to prevent cave-in.

Note to self: Try and figure out now what to do with his corpse as no rescue vehicles or coroner vehicles will be able to come get him.

The bag boys were talking about how great the Pats played last week. They are older greek gentlemen who slip effortlessly between English and Greek. The bag boy I had today is named "Chris." He always sings to me when he loads up the cart. Today I needed two carts (the dog food was to blame. And the 90 packages of chicken, and 200 packages of Ramen Noodles, and 15 loaves of bread) so Chris pushed out one cart and I pushed out the other. He offered to help put the bags in the back of the station wagon. I told him I could do it from there (improving my self-reliance skills for survival after the killer storm), and I went to hand him a dollar for helping me out.

You know, tip the bag boy.

He waved it off and laughed and said thank you, but he didn't want it. I'm not sure exactly if he thought it was a nice gesture and genuinely refused it, or if he was insulted. He told me he likes taking stuff out to the cars because he can get fresh air and stretch his legs. He waved good bye and went back inside.

I thought you were supposed to tip bag boys. Do people still do that? Am I such a loser that I think that still happens?

I am suddenly reminded of the grocery store when I was a kid. We used to go down to King Kullen in Halesite, there was no good grocery store up near our house, so we'd go down and shop there.

The name King Kullen just makes me laugh to myself now. What a funny name.

I have a memory in my head of the exterior of the store. Under the big awning, there was a metal roller conveyor belt, and there was a door from the inside of the store where they would slide your bags out and they'd be taken to the car (or you could take them if you want, but I remember guys doing it for us).

I always wanted to ride the conveyor belt. The metal wheels would make the greatest jingly sound when the bags would roll down them, and a boy would grab the bags and go off to some lady's car, put them in the trunk, and get tipped.

Those "boys" are now in their 40s. Funny to think that. We would run down the platform, and roll the rollers to see if we could get them all going. I remember trying to perfect my roller starting skills. Whole hand, whole arm, or one finger across one at a time... which is fastest. I guess it depended on how fast you ran down the line.

The metal roller shopping bag delivery system. One of the greatest memories of my child hood.

I also remember standing in the parking lot and looking across the lot to the woods and fields behind the lot and store. They aren't there anymore.

Okay, before I start getting all "Joe Tronzo" on you (that's a reference to the crusty old Beaver Valley Times columnist who used to reminisce about his childhood sitting under the gas lights in the summer spitting watermelon seeds up towards the moon) I'll finish this up. I am invited to a little party this evening at a former co-worker's swanky pad and I totally forgot to tell Doug, so I don't know if he'll be mad that I want to go.

Better go there and have fun. I may never see her again once this storm hits. Okay -- for the rest of you. There is no bread left. I bought it all. Don't come here looking for any. Your sloth and poor planning shall make a lovely liner in your own coffin!!! Mwah ha ha!

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